Santiam, Middle, Oregon, US
|Usual Difficulty||II-IV (varies with level)|
|Avg. Gradient||36 fpm|
|MIDDLE SANTIAM R BLW GREEN PETER DAM NR FOSTER, OR|
|usgs-14186200||699.00 - 710.00 ft||II-IV||00h22m||696.2 ft (too low)|
|Base flows, can be done if desperate.|
Short dam controlled run between a couple of reservoirs.
Check out descriptions at
This stretch is generally done in the Summer at either 1 or 2 units.
1 unit is usually between 1,000-2,000 cfs
2 units is usually 2,500-4,000 cfs.
Check out this gauge (third graph down) or this other one and try to figure out what the schedule is. It often releases in the evening, so after work runs are practical. You can also try calling the dam operators to get the release schedule.
If it is all a big headache, try getting in touch with a local boater, someone will probably know what the deal is.
There is a short walk in along a road to the base of Green Peter Dam. The run starts off as moving flat water and builds towards class III as it reaches the three named rapids 1.4 miles after putting on. This warm up section has many dynamic eddies, small pour-overs for boof practice and some surf spots, contributing to some of the features that make this a good summertime training run.
The named rapids come in quick succession and start off with Swiss Cheese (III-III+), which is most often run center/right. Below is a large pool before Scrawley's Wall (III-IV), which is usually entered on the left, moving back to center after a large pour-over in the middle of the river. Take care not to get pushed into the left wall. At some flows there are good surf waves in the runout here, but again, that left wall is a concern.
A moving stretch of water seperates Scrawley's Wall from Concussion (class IV). Be mindful of a hazardous sieve in the center of the rapid near the top. Because of this sieve, entering the rapid center is best avoided altogether. Concussion is most often entered along the right bank, driving hard back to center behind the rock seperating the center and right channels in order to avoid a decent sized hydraulic along the bank (this hydraulic can be cleared with speed and a strong stroke, but has also surfed its fair share of boaters). There are a few more notable hydraulics near the bottom of the rapid, none would hold a swimmer but flips are not uncommon. There is a final rock in the center of the rapid most boaters go right of as the current enters what is usually the slack water of Foster Reservoir.
A number of alternate lines present themselves in all the rapids, a multitude of eddies and interesting currents make slalom style paddling enjoyable. If you are a local this is probably the best whitewater available close by in the late summer and as you learn the river new lines will present themselves and if that becomes too mundane this run is condusive to playboating. Its short length means many laps can be had.
Directions: Take I-5 to Hwy 20 East to Sweet Home. About 5 miles East of Sweet Home turn North onto Quartzville Rd.
You will cross a couple bridges and shortly be parrelleling what is typically a flat river (when Foster Reservoir is low it may be flowing class I-II).
2.8 miles after turning onto Quartzville Rd, pull over onto the shoulder on the side of the road opposite the river, this is the take out and there is a short trail leading to a small bedrock protrusion that marks the take out from the water, mind the poison oak (avoidable most years).
If you start climbing away from the stream on the road you have passed the take out.
1.5 miles upstream of the take out a paved road goes off to the right, it can sneak up on you. Park here (do not block the gate) and walk about half a mile down to some stairs leading to the river within site of the dam. Put in here.
Put in parking: 44.4442, -122.5591
Take out parking: 44.4381, -122.5879